Imperative to block “jalan tikus” to limit Covid-19 risk, says Uggah

The Tebedu border checkpoint. - file pic

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Aug 24: It is crucial that Sarawak blocks as many “jalan tikus” (illegal trails) as possible amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

This view was expressed by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas when he urged community leaders in rural areas close to the Sarawak-Indonesia border to be vigilant against illegal immigrants.

“For security officers who are guarding the borders, they are playing their roles actively.

“However, the rakyat also has to play a role in it especially the community leaders in rural areas staying close to our country’s borders with Indonesia.

“If you see any strangers coming, please report to the authority,” he reiterated.

He said this following the confirmed Covid-19 case involving an agent for the LNG Jupiter vessel carrying an Indonesian crew member into Malaysia without going through examination by immigration officers at the point of entry.

On August 18, the agent was charged under Section 43 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963. He was fined RM4,000 by the Bintulu Sessions Court. The accused has paid the fine in total on the same day in court and the involved illegal Indonesian immigrant was deported to his country of origin and blacklisted by the Immigration Department.

If the accused had failed to pay the fine, he would have been imprisoned for five months from the date of prosecution.

Following the event, Uggah asserted that the Sarawak Health Department (JKNS) would increase surveillance at shipping ports in the state, starting from Bintulu effective tomorrow (Aug 25).

“This is to make sure that on all fronts, we are trying to ensure that any (Covid-19) case will be detected early.

“If we can detect the cases earlier, it will be easier for us to do contact tracing and stop the transmission chain in time,” he said during a press conference to give Covid-19 updates here today.

As such, he urged the public to continue giving their cooperation and support to each other because the war against the illness has not come to an end. — DayakDaily